A few hours earlier , Wayne Wewege, 28, of Port Alfred jumped off the bridge – becoming the 85th suicide since the bridge’s opening in November 1971 and the fourth this year.
Freight Solutions truck driver Harry Vermaak, 54, was on the N2 towards Plettenberg Bay at about 2am when he spotted a Mazda Astina parked in the emergency lane on the bridge.
“A very pale man got out. I realised he was going to jump,” Vermaak said.
“We spoke about lots of different things and then I realised he had two children. I asked him: ‘What are they going to think?’ I kept on telling him that every child needs a father.
“He then handed me a letter and told me to give it to his family.”
While talking to him, the man’s cellphone rang and he handed it to Vermaak.
“It was his daughter. I told her that her father was standing on the bridge and wanted to jump. She started crying and put her mother on the phone but the man then started walking.”
Vermaak grabbed the man’s arm and phoned the police. A police van appeared but Vermaak said he would drive the man to the police station.
“It was scary knowing that all that was standing between this man and death was me.” At Thornhill police station, Vermaak called the man’s family to fetch him.
The Times has decided not name the man to protect him and his family.